Monday, March 29, 2010

Spaghetti with Artichokes and Tomato Cream Sauce

We've decided to try meat-free Mondays in our house. Jared and I feel like we're eating too much meat. I should have a pile of great vegetarian recipes from my childhood and I do have the Fit for Life Cookbook, but... most of those recipes aren't super appealing to my kids. I'm not so sure we'll be using tofu anytime soon. Sadly, I'm afraid meat-free won't necessarily translate to healthier... just cheaper. But, that works, too.

Perfect recipe to start us off... Pioneer Woman, of course! I knew she wouldn't lead me astray and that I'd be able to convince the family to play along, with a recipe from her. And she did not disappoint. This stuff was delicious and super fast. From start to dinner on the table, it only took me 30 minutes. I love 30 minute meals! And believe it or not, my finicky eaters cleaned their plates. Granted, they emptied most of the tomatoes and mushrooms off their plates before they started, but that's just a minor detail. Besides, it meant more mushrooms for me! (The mushrooms were my addition... makes the meal just a bit "meatier.") This stuff is fantastic!

Recipe source: Pioneer Woman
Serves: 6

2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
2 Tbsp. Butter
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, finely diced
1 can artichoke hearts (14.5 oz., quartered or whole), drained, NOT marinated
1 can diced tomatoes with juice (14.5 oz)
8 oz. fresh mushrooms, sliced or quartered
1 cup heavy cream (I substituted evaporated milk without any problems; my sauce thickened just fine)
1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth (more as needed)
1/2 tsp. nutmeg (optional... I added it.)
salt and pepper to taste
1 lb. thin spaghetti
1 cup Parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp. fresh herbs, chopped (chives, basil, parsley, etc.)

1. Cook spaghetti until al dente. Drain and set aside.

2. Melt olive oil and butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onions, and garlic and saute for 2 to 3 minutes.

3. Add artichoke hearts, tomatoes, and mushrooms. Stir occasionally and cook for 8-10 minutes.

4. Reduce heat to low and stir in cream/milk and broth. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cook over low heat until heated through.

5. Place drained pasta in a large bowl and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Pour sauce over that and toss slightly to mix everything together. Top with fresh herbs. Add a tiny bit of reserved pasta juice or more chicken broth if the sauce seems to thick.

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